10 Rules for Visiting a New Parent

Jillian HarrisBaby, Life, My Heart73 Comments

Jillian Harris Rules for Visiting a New Parent

It’s been a freakin YEAR since I’ve had Leo! I can’t believe it … but I remember his birth and his first few weeks at home like it was yesterday! And as I sit here and think back to those precious first few weeks I remembered a few things I learned during that time that I’ve actually meant to share with you for a while and have finally found the time to sit down and write this … strange … for a new mom … right?? What’s spare time?? LOL!!! Today I wanted to share with you, 10 rules for visiting a new parent! I’m sure there are MANY of you out there who will feel the same way with some of the things I’m going to say below and some of you may feel differently but keep in mind, this is just from MY personal experience!

While I didn’t want to ever feel ungrateful for people wanting to reach out and pop by for visits to meet little Leo at times I really felt overwhelmed by it all. There were phone calls and texts and social media messages and people popping in and staying for a little longer than I wanted all while I was trying to get accustomed to our new life! Honestly, I ONLY wanted that first week to ten days to just be with Leo!

So for the new or new-to-be parents out there, I get it … and if I were to write the rules to visiting a new parent, here’s what I would say!

Jillian Harris Rules for Visiting a New Parent

1. Wait until the timing is right: Unless you’re an immediate family member or a best friend I would suggest waiting about 2 weeks to a month before you stop in to see the new family! Unless, of course, they have reached out to you and invited you over!! I know that seems like a long time to wait but trust me, they have enough on their plates for the first few weeks!!

2. Know when to leave: I say to keep your visit under an hour … 30 minutes is probably a perfect rule of thumb to make sure you don’t overstay your welcome!! Unless they BEG you to stay!!

3. Keep your words of wisdom to yourself: You have to remember that this is a new experience for them … don’t overwhelm them by comparing birth stories or dishing out tons of advice on the do’s and don’t of parenting … if they want advice, they’ll probably google it. LOL.

4. Bring a little something to help out mama: Bring a little gift for the new parents such as some coffee, homemade almond cream, pre-made meals, etc. Trust me, they’ll use it and appreciate it. Need some fun ideas?? Check out my recent post on Hostess gifts, these ideas would be perfect in this situation too!!

5. Help out without asking: Maybe mama hasn’t showered in a few days, or brushed her teeth … or shaved her legs (so maybe you should get her an appointment at Clear Image of Fort Worth so she doesn’t have to worry about her legs anymore) … offer to watch the little one while she takes some much needed time for herself even if it’s just for 15 minutes! Every new mama deserves a good soak in the tub with some pretty bath salts!

6. Don’t swoop in and grab the baby: I think it’s always better to wait and see if they ask if you would like to hold the baby before you just get right up close and personal … remember this is a protective new mother you’re dealing with! LOL!!

7. Hold off on social media (unless it’s ok!): Personally, I LOVE social media (obviously) but a lot of people like to keep moments such as these private so I wouldn’t go flooding Instagram with photos of the new babe and parents unless they are okay with it!

8. Ease up on the texts and phone calls: Because mama is sort of … busy. She’ll get back to you when she has time … in about 18 years. LOL!!!

9. If you have a cold or the flu, steer clear: This one is self-explanatory, don’t spread your germs!

10. Compliment mama: She’s been through a lot and she’s tired … and she probably wants a big glass of wine and for her vagina to stop hurting … so just be a good friend and tell her how beautiful she is. She deserves it. LOL.

Jillian Harris Rules for Visiting a New Parent-2Jillian Harris Rules for Visiting a New Parent-3

What do you think?? Share some of your rules and thoughts below!!

xo

Jilly

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73 Comments

  • Haha lovely list!

  • Spot on! Great article to put out for people to share!!

  • Bringing pre made meals to a new mama is the best thing! I had a really hard recovery post baby and standing let alone cooking a meal wasn’t happening! I appreciated every meal I could get, and so did my husband!

  • Great list. It’s been almost 21 years since our last son was born, but it’s a fantastic list Jillian!

  • This is perfect. I am days away and this just nails how Im already feeling

  • If there is an older sibling, its always nice if the guest brings something small for the sibling as well (even just a cookie!). Helps the sibling feel included too. It can be a rough transition for the sibling to have all the attention focused on baby and to watch baby receive gifts etc. Plus helps mom out with the guilt/hormones to see the older child feel special too.

    • Shan, I agree with you 100% on this one! When your first born goes from being the center of attention to now having to share that spotlight (and mom & dad), it can be a difficult transition for them and it definitely was for my little one. My little girl was sooo happy and appreciative for the gifts she received during this time, and one of them was a notepad! Lol!

  • This is a must read for every new mom! I had people actually get offended when I asked if they could wait a few days to visit us. You don’t need that kind of guilt when your hormones are already running rampant. Once you’re ready all you want is someone to bring you a Starbucks and hold your little babe for a few minutes so you can put on some mascara & brush your teeth lol!
    Great post!
    Shannon
    http://www.suburbanstylefiles.com

  • Great tips. A friend of mine is currently having a baby and it’s all i can do not to text and ask how things are going. It’s been 2 days and I’m dying! But will hold off..

    It’s funny because a few months ago, I had my baby and she was texting me and came to see the baby a couple hours after I gave birth and I was totally great with it. I felt as though I needed to keep people posted and let them see the baby and so was excited to share. I actually liked hospital visitors better than at my home because at home, there are no nurses or meals and you have to try to keep the house tidy, etc. I wished people would stay away when we were at home.. There were days I started to cry as I laughed out the vacuum and the baby started to cry. I just wanted to fall into a heap and text everyone to please not come over. I think it’s a good idea to incite the new mom and baby over so that way they have an outing and they don’t have to worry about the house being clean!

  • I love this, definitely on point! I loved when people would come over and bring food but also offered to tidy for me!! I hate clutter and it was awesome when someone would do my dishes or other helpful chores 😛
    Also whether they are a first time parent or have 3 kids, any help is still appreciated! It is still a bit adjustement!

  • I definitely agree with everything that you said. Especially not staying over an hour ! I was so exhausted and just wanted to be left alone.

  • it’s been over 30 years since I had my sweet babe but this advise still stands so true

  • I love all these rules!

  • Michaela  • 

    All of this. YES!
    PS my 2 week old and your handsome Leo now share a birthday 🙂

  • Love these!
    You should make ten rules for new moms. Like – just because they are family doesn’t mean you have to say “yes”. I had my out-of-town family stay with me for several days, and it about did me in.

    • Couldn’t agree more!!! Come when you say you will and be on time, be on time, be on time! When I was a new mom trying to figure out nursing, I tried my best to schedule visits between feedings so that others would be able to hold my son while they were there and I would not be awkwardly and self-consciously trying to shove my boob into his mouth the whole time. It stressed me out to no end when people were running late or trying to reschedule at the last minute when I had been trying so hard to work around when I thought they were coming.

  • Be on time! If you say you’re going to be there at 6pm, then be on time. Mama is hungry and is probably trying to juggle baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule and her own eating schedule to work with your visit! When I had my baby, I had a couple who said they would be there at 6pm. At 6pm, they texted to say that they were still at a restaurant waiting for their food. I ended up just cancelling the visit because I was actually waiting for them to come so they could hold the baby while I make my own supper. So inconsiderate!

  • Karen Stanley  • 

    After having 3 babies I would say my biggest rule would be to wash your hands before holding my baby. Also do not touch my baby’s hands or face. If you are a smoker please do not smoke before holding my baby. The smoke is all over your clothes and hands. Very unsafe for a newborn. If you cannot follow these rules please admire my baby from a distance ?

  • Yes, as a former L&D RN…. you are right on the money!
    I would say the majority of new mom’s feel this way, and visitors should heed this great advice!

  • Do a load of laundry and restock baby supplies in the nursery! I had a surprise c section and could barely walk let alone carry laundry and restock diapers and being a very organized neat women it was something always on my mind. My son Parker is very close to Leo’s age, I love your blog!

  • OMG agree 100%!! My bestie & sister in law dropped off Starbucks in the first month and offered to stop in for showers or 5 minute time outs but also just literally dropped off without even coming in it was sooo appreciated that I didn’t have to feel pressured to visit

  • Each culture have your own rules and how to deal with it.
    The tips is very useful with common sense but I wouldn’t bring a bottle of wine for mommy cuz , first of all cuts off the medication and interrupt healing process second of all if she’s breastfeeding is not a good combination. I’m mother of 3 kids I got different approaches each pregnancy and the one I drank a glass of wine ( sometimes) was the one I’m having problems with the kid development. ;-(.

  • Manpreet  • 

    Hi Jillian,

    In one of your instagram stories recently you mentioned that you had some questions about when to get rid of the sound machine and making adjustments to the amazing sleep routine/schedules we have. Did you end up getting a response from @weesleep about that? My baby was born July 2nd 2016 and she is still taking two, 2-hr naps a day and sleeps from 6:30pm-7am. Every night, in her crib, in her sleep sack, with her lovey. The nighttime sleep is the only time we use the sound machine, but I wonder when we should turn that off? She’s been sleeping with it since she was 8 weeks old so you can imagine how scared we are of changing anything! Thanks for your help.

  • The picture thing was difficult for me. I worked really hard on my daughter (haha) and I almost felt like I had some sort of right to the photos that were taken of her. Now that I have experienced this I don’t take any pictures of new babies. Nowadays you don’t know where that picture will end up. Rule of thumb, ask if you can take a picture before you do. And be ok if mom says that they would like to wait to have pictures out there.

  • Spot on, Jillian! The best thing I did was have family and friends schedule visits through my husband, however, I deeply regret not giving ourselves time as a family of 3 before scheduling every single night with visits. I remember being completely overwhelmed with the plans, though we were blessed with visitors who brought food, compliments & helping hands.

  • Wash your hands before holding baby and DO NOT kiss my child!!!! Lol

  • Could not agree more, Jillian! You are awesome by the way. Keep it up!! 😉

  • Also add if out of town relatives want to come visit, they should offer make arrangements for their dogs (I’ve had to deal with that) but if they still bring them, try to keep them off the furniture – especially where mama usually nurses with baby. If mama is nursing and doesn’t feel comfortable nursing in front of others, offer to go in separate room instead of her being the one to move (it sucked being alone in a room where I didn’t normally feed him.) Add to cold/flu list – don’t come if your doctor isn’t sure what skin ailment you have and then when you are in town you have to go to the doctor and it turns out you have the shingles – I was super paranoid that my baby would get the chicken pox – and once you have that diagnosis you should probably go home and rest and not spend 2 more days visiting but not being able to hold the the baby or help out in any way and it meant other family members who hadn’t had chicken pox yet couldn’t come over while the individual was still visiting. If you do happen to have a cold when visiting (which you failed to inform mama) suck it up and don’t have 3 naps right beside the person who was up all night with a baby. Just use commom sense and don’t add stress to new parents. End rant.

  • How do you look so pretty after giving birth?!?
    I hope I look like you right after baby arrives. ❤️

  • Kim Weisbrod  • 

    I just wanna say your awesome! Hilarious and so very humble.

    I know recently (through your instastory) some comments have been taken the wrong and honestly I love how you respond. Just so real. Everyone has the right to an opinion including you.

    Thank you for being so open about your life, good and bad.

    I’ve followed you since your time on the bachelorette and will continue too.

    Keep rockin and being true to you ✌?

  • Yes yes yes! Great advice! Please dont touch the baby! I was always so generous with sharing my baby, until she broke out with a terrible rash all over her face. Many doctor emergency room visits and stress! Finally off to a specialist to find out someone passed along the cold sore virus to my baby! It was so awful. It attacked her whole system.

  • Love all of these and couldn’t agree more!! Especially with keeping the visits under an hour ????

  • Food. Always bring food!

  • Michelle  • 

    By my third baby I actually loved having visitors come by, but the first time around it did feel overwhelming. My friends and family did good about spacing their visits out through my maternity leave, which kept me with a good influx of adults to talk to when I was getting stir crazy. Always appreciated when visitors would bring food, or even just my favorite Starbucks drink.

  • I couldn’t agree more with all your rules/ guidelines! My daughter was born a week after Leo and as a new mom it was difficult to set these boundaries or know which ones to set.
    I’m expecting baby 2 and already told my husband and some family members how the first visits will be different!
    Hopefully some new expecting moms are able to set their guidelines before hand. It’s difficult when the baby is here and everyone is over joyed and just want to visit!

  • Veronica  • 

    Agreed on the comparing of birth stories! I had a traumatic birth experience and when a friend came to visit she talked about her experience the whole time. I didn’t get a chance to tell my story and get it out and I really needed to talk about it. When she left I said to my husband “did I just give birth or her?!” And agreed on the texts – it was overwhelming but still felt grateful for everyone checking in.

  • Tarissa Kruger  • 

    Love these rules! I have four boys, 7yrs, 5yrs, 3yrs and 1.5yrs it was very overwhelming with visitors with my first.
    One rule I would add and it happened to me would be for family members or friends to not post info or photos of your new baby on social media. That’s for the mamma and dad to do.
    Love reading your blogs?

  • THANK YOU!!! These are all soo very true !!y little guy also just turned a year old and I remember the first week like it was yesterday. I was so overwhelmed with people just showing up and often disrupting feedings!! ??‍♀️ What I hated the most is getting a million calls of when to see and when told a later date hearing the annoyance in their voice that it couldn’t be right now!! Grrr people need to remember that birth is traumatic on the body and mothers need time to breath and get their bearings !

  • Nicole Gulenchyn  • 

    My husband and I agreed with both kids that we were having a “babymoon”. Well, it was my idea and since I had the uterus he agreed 😉
    Everyone was welcome to come and visit in the hospital but once we got home, that front door was closed to EVERYBODY for two weeks.
    It was the best thing we ever did, we got so much wonderful relaxed time with our babes and we got to get the hang of this new world without caring about what we looked like, what the house looked like, whether there was anything in the fridge lol or how to handle everything while under the eyes of anyone else.
    I cannot recommend this enough, it made starting our new family together so much less stressful.

  • All of these are bang on! I’m going to add one more: Skip the perfume.

    I loved perfume until I had my baby. While your perfume smells lovely, moms probably won’t want their new baby smelling like it.

  • So this list is perfection. Nailed it!

  • I could not agree with you more I wish people were more respectful when I had my daughter my hospital room was like grand central station! You are amazing and I love everything you have done…. I have been trying to eat clean and would stay I’m at an 80% plant based diet hoping to get to 100% but baby steps

  • You got it! If you want to be a rockstar friend or family member, bring the new mom and dad food, and keep the visit short!

  • I would wait 2 months, after the initial shots for any visitors. After that, any visitors must wash their hands before carrying the baby.

  • Great post! I’m wondering…Have you discussed postpartum hair loss already? I’m 4 1/2 months PP and my long hair is really thinning out. Of course I’ve googled it and know it will come back soon, but your hair looks so great and you fought the urge to chop it all off. I’m wondering if you could share some secrets?

  • This is a great and very true post. You look so happy and glowing in these photos Jillian and Leo is absolutely adorable. I follow you on Instagram and love your blogs. Keep them coming:)

  • I will add:

    11. Don’t kiss the baby

    I am so confused by people who want to put their lips on my newborn baby. His skin is pure, your lips, I don’t know where those things have been

  • Nicole Nonis  • 

    Great advice! Completely agree 🙂

  • YES!! All of this. And also bring food & snacks. And don’t let them wait on you or feed you as a guest – you should be a help, you are NOT a guest!

  • Absolutely love every single rule! 6 and 7 are the best, I was super overwhelmed after having my baby girl. I need to print this out before I have my next. My family is huge and wonderful but when it comes to new babys, they don’t have any bounderies!!

  • Michelle  • 

    don’t bring flowers as a gift! there’s enough to take care of already! they’ll just die a quick death!

  • Michelle  • 

    Yes!!!! This is exactly the list I would have written! I am so much more aware of what new parents actually need after having my little guy in December ? This list is perfect!

  • IThis is great! I love 4 and 5 and always make sure I bring a mom gift. I need to ease up on 6 so this was a great reminder. Thank you

  • My best friend saidid the same thing. If you’re visiting be healthy and help out. She used to “joke” that she barely had time to shower or eat so a visit was hard for her (she has twins to boot!). So loading the dishwasher, bringing a meal or folding laundry while you visit was super appreciated. Like the thought about pampering mama too. She deserves some attention after giving all of herself to her precious babes.

    Thanks for your ever present honest and open perspective Jill!

  • Thank you for this post! As a new Mom myself with a 4 month 3 week old baby girl I remember when I first came home from the hospital and literally my husbands family were waiting at our house before we even got in the door was overwhelming and I was having some baby blues quite hard. For the first two weeks all I wanted was to spend my time with Mia and my husband and adjust. He only had two weeks off and literally all the visitors came in that time leaving little alone time to just be with my husband and baby ? It would have been helpful if people waited when I was actually on my own during the day without any help. Thank you for the post I totally agree!

  • This is EXACTLY how I felt! Especially the waiting for at least two weeks to visit and a half hour to hour was plenty of time to meet the LO. When people brought things like FOOD it was a blessing.

  • Always come with food! Not junk food, a real meal or healthy snacks for mama that don’t require any assembly – grab and go! And keep bringing food to every visit for at least the first 3 months.

  • Its a perfect list!

  • Compliment mama is a big one. I have a 3 month old at home and I will never forget the stranger who stopped me in the grocery store to take a peak at my 3 week old baby girl, but what brought me to tears were her words to me “wow you look great” it meant the world to me.

  • I think you are amazing!!! Love this ?

  • Reminds me when my visitors came with coffee- for themselves only ??

  • Great post Jill, you are bang on!

  • Absolutely spot on! One thing but on the opposite side is if the visitor is holding the new babe don’t take total advantage and eventually take them back lol. I (having to kids myself 4and 1 for the record) visited a few new parents over the last few months (not brand new but newish) and I’m experiencing more and more moms handing the babe off… and never taking them back. No one wants to say “ok I’m done now here is your baby back (because my baby js about to knock your TV over)”. So that is one rule the world should know that kind of fits here (maybe not) but I felt inclined to comment?. I think your great Jillian, keep it coming!

  • Kimberly  • 

    Great post! I worried about entertaining the guests! Well let me tell you… I totally paid the price. The time in the tub soaking instead of visiting would have worked wonders. Learnt my lesson for baby #2.
    Thanks for sharing?

  • Sarah Roach  • 

    I loved this read! Simple, honest, and exactly what everyone thinks but is often too shy to say. My only change I’d like to offer is making #9 much higher on the list!!!
    Everyone is so eager but if you aren’t feeling good…do not see baby!! I ended up in the hospital with our baby having bacterial and viral meningitis at 22 days old. Probably the scariest and hardest thing I’ve endured. We were in the hospital for 14 days while our little cupcake received treatment. Hence why I feel this to be the most important one. I wish I had known better. Anyways. I’m totally obsessed with your InstaStories and blog. P.S. Along with everyone I practically know!! Keep up the great work and entertainment. You help me get through the days…nursing LOL ?

  • should be given to every MIL

  • Vanessa Mitchell  • 

    Absolutely LOVE this blog! It is soooooo true! I had a freakin dinner party brought to my house when my daughter was 2 days old!!! It was BRUTAL! We survived but it was so overwhelming and I didn’t know what to do. Thanks Jillian for your awesome blogs!
    Vanessa ???

  • Hailey White  • 

    Coupla good ones are
    -dont visit after 6pm, babes are usually quite fussy at this time. Also, it usually means the other parent has returned home from work and mama needs a much needed break
    -if babe is not your first, ask about nap times. Their little world has changed A LOT and their routine is more imprtant then every

  • Good list. To add, If Dad is in the picture, go through him and let him vet all the requests and schedule with how Mom and baby are doing.

  • Jovana Sanchez  • 

    Good ideas thank you ! Especially a little something for the mom . Another rule to add would be wash your hands before holding baby, and try not to wear strong perfume or any if you can. I had my poor child smelling like the perfume section. Not in a bad way but they are baby’s there will be time for her or him to get to treat themselves to perfume or cologne later ? Also no kissing the baby’s face or touching their face. Unless you’re a grandparent just the cheeks. Finially just enjoy and take lots of pictures they change so much in the first year alone and time flys.

  • Spot on! I loved when people would come and help out just for a little bit. I had some friends who would wash the pile of dishes or finish cooking a meal for us.
    Another important one to me would be greeting the older sibling or siblings first! Our older daughter absolutely adored her new baby sister when she was born, but of course she lost so much attention from myself and dad. I could tell it made her feel good when she was spoken with first and included in their meeting her baby sister.

  • This is nuts lol. You don’t want visitors for a month but as soon as you give ppl the ok to visit you want us to make you food, bring you gifts and watch your baby? Haha The first few weeks are the best when ppl visit…. that’s when I needed help the most! Also babies change so much in a month, wouldn’t want people missing out on this.

  • This is amazing advice! Recently married and possibly starting a family all of these things sound right up my alley.. i’ll be posting them whenever we decide to start on our own journey!